How to Make Your Own Decorative Columns

Architectural columns have been a symbol of order, beauty and reason for thousands of years. They convey an elegant refinement that beautifies any home or garden. Building decorative columns is neither expensive nor difficult.

You can make your own attractive decorative columns and change the appearance of your property.

Build Decorative Columns for Your Home or Garden

  1. Sketch a diagram, including dimensions, of your desired column. Include any extra details on the capital or base design. The capital is the square piece that sits on top of the column shaft. Capitals connect the column to other architectural elements and usually display distinct stylistic features. Narrow columns convey a delicate and graceful aesthetic, while thicker columns express a feeling of security and strength. Determine which feeling or style you would like to convey and design your columns accordingly.

  2. Obtain materials at a local hardware store or mill. For anything other than the most basic column, you need to have a mill custom-produce your column's shaft. Regardless of where you get the piece of wood for your column's shaft, make sure it is smooth and free from knots or other irregularities.

  3. Construct the base of the column by attaching a wooden box to the shaft with a bolt. Drill a hole for the bolt through the top of the box and into the bottom of the shaft. When you tighten the bolt, make sure the shaft fits snugly against the box. Add a second bolt if the column seems unstable.

  4. Build the capital by attaching a smaller wooden box to the top of the column shaft with a bolt. If you want extra decorative affect, cut a circle out of a piece of wood and place it between the capital and the shaft. Send the bolt through both the box and piece of wood and then into the shaft. Add any other decorative elements, such as molding.

  5. Paint your column whatever color you desire--white conveys the stately elegance that most people look for in a column. If the column is to be placed outdoors, first coat the wood with a waterproofing product and then apply paint. An oil-based paint will help to prevent water damage. Install the column on a level surface and secure it to something sturdy with steel brackets.

  6. Tip

    Have a mill carve flutes into the sides of the column's shaft or draw flutes on its sides.


    Never leave the column standing without attaching it to a sturdy support such as a wall. Never place the column on an uneven surface.